In the last twenty years one of the classical arenas for British historical writing - the politics of Victorian Britain - has ceased to be an obvious or self-evidently important subject. Facing up to this challenge, the historians who have contributed to this volume explore central aspects ofthat history. They continue to uphold the centrality of politics to Victorian Britain, but suggest that politics must be viewed more broadly, as a concern pervading almost all spheres of life, just as Victorians themselves would have done. In this way politics penetrates into Victorian culture.'Politics' can lead us into the ideas governing political action itself; political ideas; international relations; the eduction of men and women; the writing of history and of literature; engagement with past political theorists; and the ideas behind professionalization. Such are some of the themestaken up here. The specific occasion for these essays was as a tribute to the memory of the late Colin Matthew, one of the most eminent recent historians of Victorian Britain, who was himself determined to uphold the contemporary relevance of Victorian political tradition, and to explore the interface between'politics' and 'culture'. Reflection on his intellectual achievement is a second distinctive component of this book.